An empathetic psychologist, Madelyn Brighton trusts no one. She maintains a solitary and organized life with a serene view of the beach.
Everything changes when bad news forces her to leave sunny California and travel to Bavaria in south Germany. Amid 19th-century castles and dark family secrets, she must deal with the repercussions of her estranged father’s shocking counterfeiting crimes when she secretly inherits a priceless artifact.
Complications ensue when Madelyn reluctantly partners with the adventurous, blue-eyed archaeologist Jake Nolan. He promises to help her evade Leon Von Füssen, a prominent and wealthy art conservator who keeps them on the run as he tries to get his hands on the valuable museum piece Madelyn hides.
Madelyn finds herself caught in the middle of a rivalry between Jake and Leon. Will she succeed at protecting the innocent victims affected by her father’s mistakes, trust Jake with her safety and open herself to love again? Or will the counterfeiter’s daughter suffer the fallout of her father’s choices?
Join Madelyn on her thrilling journey of romantic suspense—from disillusionment to faith, bitterness to forgiveness, and loneliness to the prospect of love.
Extracts from the book
Sam’s eyes darted to the tiny flame on the edge of the rug. A breath hitched in his chest.
“Next time your wife and kids may not make it to the train so easily.” He wore a hard smile on his face, turned his back and headed toward the door. “Be at the beer garden tonight, seven sharp.” He patted the pocket that concealed the gun and left.
Sam seized a glass from the coffee table, tossed water onto the small fire and stomped on the remaining flames. A billow of smoke rose, setting off the alarm. Grabbing a magazine, he stepped up onto a chair and fanned the soot from the ceiling. He rushed to the front door, slammed it shut then chained and double-bolted the locks.
A tightness gripped his heart. He smacked a flat palm against his chest and sucked in a sharp intake of air. He bustled toward the writing desk in the room’s corner, pulled out a sheet of paper and scribbled a note. Time denied him a moment to dwell on thoughts of Gretchen and the boys.
He only had one chance to react and perhaps, just this once, get it right.
After he penned the letter, he folded it, sealed the back and wrote the name of the one person essential to notify in his despair. Putting on his wool pea coat he shoved the envelope inside his pocket and peered out the balcony.
A silver sedan sat parked across the street. Sam noticed the vehicle when he returned after driving Gretchen and the kids to the Berlin Central train station.
Sam’s hands trembled and he closed the windows overlooking the Brandenburg Gate. The room darkened as he pulled the shades, blocking the little sunlight peeking from the thick gray clouds.
He shuddered. An eerie sensation swirled in the pit of his stomach, spreading to his nerves, that he’d never again see the light of day.
Her heartbeat resounded in her ears and heat prickled her nape. The words blurred into random letters as Madelyn stared at the page. Even if she wanted to go, she had clients depending on her services. She curled her trembling fingers, the paper crunching under her grasp. Pretend she never received the request and forget the whole thing?
Madelyn tossed the crumpled paper in the trash and dropped her head into her hands, massaging her temples. The day had gone from bad to worse. Somehow Sam knew where to find her and yet still never called or reached out. She took a swig of her coffee and choked on the bitter taste mixed with the lukewarm temperature.
Sam was dead… The poor boys, losing their dad so soon, even if Sam wasn’t much of a father to her, she knew the negative effects of an absent parent. Madelyn blew a heavy breath from her mouth, pulled the note from the trash and did a search online for the first available flight to Munich, Germany. She booked an airline ticket and emailed her supervisor with a notification of time off for two weeks’ bereavement period—accounting for travel time, jet lag and unforeseen entanglements with Sam’s family. She sent a quick response to Gretchen.
How weird to think of Sam having a family. For years she attempted to disconnect her heart from any thoughts of Sam. She pressed her fingers against her chest and massaged the burning knot growing inside.
Madelyn slipped on her shoes, grabbed the letter, packed up her laptop and case files to pass on to another crisis counselor. Traveling to a foreign country required extensive planning. She paused, then shook her head. Good thing she kept her passport current. The extent of her international travels was a one-time trip to Canada, despite studying architecture for her dream job as a conservationist of historic buildings, before changing her major to psychology at Cal Poly.
Her heart banged with a heavy thud as she closed her office door. If she dwelled too long on the request, she’d change her mind and stay home. She had to follow her gut reaction and go.
About the Author
Victoria Marswell is a romance suspense author. Victoria started writing poetry and short stories in her early teens. She majored in biblical studies at Hope International University and incorporates inspirational Christian themes into her writings. Victoria is a world traveler and sets her stories in the locations she has visited. At 17, she traveled to Germany and Austria where she was inspired to write her debut novel, The Counterfeiter’s Daughter. Victoria continues to travel the world; creating and writing romantic and thrilling adventures. She lived in Orange County, CA. for 38 years and currently resides in Portsmouth, NH.